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Religion Ethics Newsweekly

Israeli Settlers and Palestinians; Benedic... News/Business. (2010) Israeli settlements in the West Bank; Pope Benedict XVI visits Great Britain; the last three surviving Shakers. (CC) (Stereo)

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Us 11, Israel 9, Arnold 4, Benedict 4, Heaven 4, Gilad Freund 3, Freund 3, Shakerism 2, Kim 2, Bob Abernathy 2, U.s. 2, Europe 2, England 2, France 2, Jerusalem 2, Britain 2, Afghanistan 2, Amos 1, Fred De Sam Lazaro 1, Vatican 1,
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  WHUT    Religion Ethics Newsweekly    Israeli Settlers and Palestinians; Benedic...   
   News/Business.  (2010) Israeli settlements in the West Bank; Pope...  

    September 19, 2010
    7:00 - 7:29pm EDT  

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coming up, the settlement issue in middle east peace talks. also the three remaining shakers trying to build heaven on earth. >> the whole idea is to live the kingdom life here and now. ♪ welcome. i'm bob abernathy. it's good to have you with us. another historic event for pope
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benedict the 16th this week. his four-day visit to the yinged kingdom. king henry viii broke ties with the roman catholic church almost 500 years ago. as kim reports, benedict's trip has not been without controversy. >> pope benedict went to the uk at the invitation of queen elizabeth ii, the official head of england. the only was john pall ii in 1982. he was greeted with an outpouring of affection. pope benedict has faced outright protests. one major issue is outrage over the clergy sex abuse crisis still swirling over many parts of europe. at the beginning of the trip, benedict admitted the church was not quick and decisive to take the necessary measures to combat the crisis. another is between roman
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catholics and the anglo-american community. last october the vatican made it easier for disaffected anglocans to become catholic. a highlight is the trip is the -- but perhaps the biggest challenge has been making the case for faith and a nation known for growing secularism. throughout the trip benedict called for the values of cultural christianity. and kim, this trip to britain is part of the pope's overall effort to try to roll back the trend of secularism all over europe. no easy task./ >> it's a big task and one that he's very concerned about. he has been throughout his papacy. he just created a new department in the vatican to focus on doing that. and in many ways, britain was a real test case or a real case study about this growing secularism.
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there were some new polling released with the visit that showed that 60% of british people say they never go to church. 42% say they don't belong to any religion and almost 20% said they're sure there is no god. so that was a big task for him to try to make a case that christianity and faith are good for society. now his message that he wanted to transmit faced a lot of challenges, one of which was the sex abuse crisis, and a lot of people were saying maybe his moral authority to make the case for religion being a cause for good was in some way compromised by the sex abuse scandal. >> and also there's some fence-mending with the anglican community, isn't there? >> well, practically since the time of henry viii there's been talk of trying to get anglicans and catholics -- these two big bodies of christians -- back together. and there are a lot of big issues and the turmoil within the anglican community over issues like homosexuality has only generated more tension and so that remains a very big issue
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for those two christian groups. >> kim, many thanks. here at home new figures from the u.s. census bureau show a rise in the number of americans living in poverty. according to the latest report, the poverty rate grew to 14.3% last year, up from just over 13% in 2008. in 2009, more than 43.5 million people, or one in seven americans lived in poverty. meanwhile, the united nations says the number of hungry people around the world has dropped below the 1 billion mark. the u.n. says lower food prices contributed to the decrease. that still leaves more than 900 million people who are hungry. many states held primaries this week in preparation for november's midterm elections. in washington, religious conservatives rallied their
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troops at the annual values voters summit. thousands gathered to hear from a parade of conservative politicians, including several republican hopefuls for the 2012 presidential race. a major theme was concern about the moral health of the nation. several tea party favorites also spoke. in france a ban on faith covering veils in public moved another step closer to becoming law. the french senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of the measure which was passed earlier this summer by the country's national assembly. some lawmakers have asked france's constitutional counsel to review the bill before sarkozy can sign it into law. opponents say it will isolate
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women who continue to cover their faces. thousands gathered in response to an american pastor's supposed plan to burn copies of the koran. although the burning was canceled, thousands still protested in afghanistan where several people were killed and many more wounded during succ s successive days of rioting. in kashmir police enforce a strict curfew after fires were set to the buildings. in jerusalem, with secretary of state clinton on hand, the israeli and palestinian leaders continued talks aimed at middle east peace. one of the toughest and most immediate issues is israeli settlements on land in the west bank the palestinians insist is theirs. on september 26, israel's self-imposed moratorium on more settlement construction expires, and no one knows whether israel will then start building again, and if it does, whether the palestinians will walk out of
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the talks. fred de sam lazaro visited the dry and windy west bank. >> gilad freund has spent much of his adult life here as a farmer, an occupation not commonly associated with his roots in new york city. but as a jew, freund says he has his own concept of roots and geography. >> i was brought up to believe that the jewish people have a historical strong connection with the land of israel, and even though there's a good life in america, i felt that it was an important step for me to come here. >> freund arrived 30 years ago and settled in the village of tekoa, about 30 miles from jerusalem, a place that dates back to biblical times. >> tekoa is the home of the prophet amos. he was a real farmer, and in the book of amos he prophesizes that the people of israel will come
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back to the land and that they will settle on the land, and they will plant gardens and grow fruit trees, and he used these biblical agricultural analogies in his prophesy. >> gilad freund embodies not just that prophesy but also the zionist vision of a jewish state that led to the formation of modern-day israel. freund is among at least 300,000 israelis who have settled on the west bank, land captured by israel in the 1967 war. they are drawn by religious conviction or often just by the affordable, subsidized housing. the settlements have long been a sticking point in peace negotiations. they've angered not just palestinians, but also settlers themselves when israel has agreed to dismantle some of them, like those in gaza in 2005. the gaza strip and much of the west bank are areas of palestinian self-rule. in a two-state solution, they would roughly form the state of palestine. but for many arabs living here,
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the concerns are more immediate and day-to- day. in this sparse village outside the city of hebron, residents complained about the lack of proper roads, electricity, and water. and things have gotten a lot worse, they say, as they became surrounded by israeli settlements. >> translator: before settlements, the range for our animals was very large. there used to be a lot of grazing land, lot of water. now, because of the settlements, we are restricted from grazing, and we cannot access the cisterns. >> these village women complained of raids by israeli security forces, who they say accuse them of harboring illegal palestinian migrant laborers or terrorists on their way to israel. >> translator: they try to intimidate us. they come at night, make trouble for our young people. they don't have title to this land. they don't have the right to take our land and prevent us from having access to any part
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of this area. >> across the rural west bank, complaints were common about intimidation and vandalism. the settlers' response was difficult to get. settlers are reticent, suspicious of outsiders, and they've long complained of a perpetual terrorist threat. what is not in question is the stark gap in the standard of living between palestinians and settlers, a gap vividly evident in the fields. israeli farmers enjoy water at subsidized rates. palestinians farmers do not. >> if you look around us, we will see that the palestinian land is totally bare now. there is no farming here because and also this has been very much affected by israeli control of the water. and next to us we can see a big farm owned by one israeli settler who is taking the water from a well, but the palestinians have no access or right to dig any new well to tap the groundwater. >> nader al-khateeb and gidon bromberg belong to friends of the earth middle east, an
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environmental group with israeli, palestinian, and jordanian members. >> shared water resources are not being shared fairly. that's critical to the peace process. that's critical as an issue that creates animosity between palestinians and israelis, and we believe that this is not fair, this is not just, this is not sustainable. >> even as they criticize what they call discriminatory israeli policies, both men agree the palestinians also suffer from internal problems -- corruption, mismanagement, and a bloody leadership struggle that has divided the palestinian territories. on the other hand, settlements have been largely well served with roads, water and security under successive israeli governments, whether left-leaning or right, whether the communities were officially sanctioned or built without government approval by private or religious organizations. one of the settlers' strongest allies is israel's minister of
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infrastructure. he's with the nationalist yisrael beitenu party, a coalition partner in the government, though his views sound far more strident than official government pronouncements. uzi landau refers to the west bank by its biblical name, judea and samaria, and says it's an integral part of the jewish homeland. you've been quoted as calling arabs the occupiers. is that an accurate quote, and what did you mean? >> it is an absolutely accurate description. they are modern crusaders. this land has been always our land. this land -- so many occupiers. jews were driven out, many of them, during the roman period. they saw the iranians, the farsi, they saw the ottomans, they saw the arabs, they saw the british, the marmlukes, you name it. every occupier replaced the one and was replaced by the occupier that came after him. the arabs are one of the occupiers. they are living over there and they have and should have all the rights as a minority has in
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every democratic country. but we claim that this is our land, definitely. >> translator: we insist that we will stay on this land, even if >> palestinian farmers we talked to have their own historical starting line. >> translator: first, there were arabs here before the jews, so we could use the same argument to say that previous generations of our people were here before you. this is not a solution, because we are all sons of abraham, them and us. we must appreciate each other because we are cousins. >> settler-farmer gilad freund says he's grown used to living with the seemingly intractable, often tense dispute over land. but all historic grievances take time to address, he says. just look at the us and civil
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rights. >> once segregation ended, it was not overnight that things changes, and there's still a lot of problems today. there's ghettos, there's unemployment, there's a lot of problems today that still have not been solved, so processes take time. americans like to think that there are overnight solutions, overnight solutions in iraq, overnight solutions in afghanistan. in the middle east there are no overnight solutions. >> whether the new peace talks continue seems to depend on some compromise within the family of abraham, whether israel will build settlements after september 26, and if they do, whether the palestinians will keep negotiating. for "religion & ethics newsweekly," this is fred de sam lazaro. on our calendar this week, two jewish holidays. yom kippur. the most solemn day of the jewish calendar. jews prayed, fasted and repented. and this coming week marks the
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seven-day festival of the feast of tabernacles. jews recall their ancestors' 40 years of wanderring in the desert by building a fragile structure which they use for prayers and meals. now a visit with the surviving shakers. the christian group demanding lifestyle beautiful furniture and songs. before the war there were nearly 6,000 shakers in 23 u.s. communities. today there's just one active shaker village left with just three members. the last shaker community straddles an old road in the midst of 1,800 acres of forest and farmland. at the peak there were nearly 200 members here.
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now the three remaining, brother haad, he came here when he was 20. sister carpenter is 72 and too shy for an interview. she's been here for 21 years. sister frances karr is 83. she was brought here when she was 10. >> i hope and pray with all my heart we're not the last three shaker shakers. >> as long as we do god's work. i believe there will be locations sent to this way of life. >> shakers originated in england in the 1700s. offshoot of the more sedate quakers led by a charismatic preacher shakers call mother ann lee. like today's pentecostals, shakers who felt the holy spirit would roll and twirl and speak in tongues. shaking quakers they were called shakers.
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mother ann taught that lives devoted to god could best be lived in isolated and disciplined communities in which members would share all they owned, as did the earliest christians. >> it's giving yourself and all that you may possess to god and to the community. >> the goal was nothing less than working to become perfect and to achieve salvation and heaven in this life. >> it's a prefigurement of the kingdom, and the whole idea is to live the kingdom life here and now. the things that we do -- we're not motivated by gain, or selfish gain. it's not private. it's not for ourselves. it's for god and for this community. the personal pronouns have to be changed. it's not me, my, and i. it's ours. >> so in the sabbath day lake cemetery, there are 150 individual graves, but just one all-inclusive marker. >> we think of father-mother god, not just as god as a
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father. >> eternal god, our father and mother, we thank you for bring so many good friends. >> god is all spirit, and god has the strength of the male and the tenderness and ve of the female. >> it followed that men and women must be treated equally. but they were strictly separated. mother ann thought sex and marriage interfered with devotion to god. >> it was to imitate the life of christ. so we are celibate because christ was celibate. we live in community because christ and his disciples lived in community. we're pacifists because christ was a pacifist. >> i asked brother arnold how a shaker deals with celibacy. >> you just deal with it. i think that has to come as a gift from god. i really do. you have to be married to christ. i mean, christ has to be your lover."Ñ it doesn't work any other way, because you have to feel so attuned to that spirit and so in love with god that it can fill
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any void that you might have in your life. >> shakers were widely admired for their craftsmanship, such as graceful chairs and other furniture, also for their hundred or more inventions, such as the flat broom. >> everything that we strive to make, either for our own use or for sale to the world, is done as perfectly as we possible can. >> at sabbathday lake, they grew herbs and sold herbal medicine and seeds. they have 19,000 apple trees, far too many for them to manage. so they rent the orchard out. as an elder, trustee and spokesman, brother arnold has many responsibilities. he also feeds the sheep and scottish cattle twice a day. >> our founder mother ann said, "hands to work, hearts to god." so for us, work is worship. if you did something so menial as cleaning a toilet, that can be actually an act of worship, because it's not being done for
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yourself, but it's being done for god. it's being done for others. >> every summer, members of the sabbathday lake support group friends of the shakers come to visit. brother arnold and one of the young visitors called the people to sunday worship. the friends filled the meetinghouse -- women in through one door, men through another, and inside the genders separated and facing each other. there is no preacher. the elders read scripture and comment on it. >> if we turn to that love of god, there is hope for each one of us this morning. >> and then came the singing. shakers are said to have 10,000 songs, of which the most famous in "simple gifts." ♪ tis a gift to be simple tis a gift to be free tis a gift to come down where we ought to be ♪ >> and then came voluntary
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testimony. >> so that's what i want to do is every day is seek that spirit of god. >> while each person spoke, one of the elders chose a song that complemented what was being said. ♪ mother has come with her beautiful song ho, ho, talla me ho ♪ >> and then another testimony. >> you can find god in everyday life and in a continuing life in community. it's lived out every day here, and it can be lived out every day in our lives. >> in many ways, shakerism has been the victim of progress. the industrial revolution lured away many young men, and shaker craftsmen could not compete with mass production. the states began looking after orphans, which shakers had done, hoping they would become members as adults.
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more recently, changing attitudes toward sex made the celibacy requirement, for many, an insurmountable obstacle. but shakers say for those who actually try the life, celibacy is not the biggest problem. >> usually those who have been here and have left have found it too regimented. >> obedience. that's the -- she's absolutely right. i think almost no one's left for any other reasons. >> the obedience was the greater problem than celibacy? >> absolutely. >> i wouldn't have been here all my life if i didn't love this life, but i can't say that it has been a heaven on earth. i can't say that there aren't days when it's far from heaven. >> i'm not a fool to think that it is, but the concept, the whole life is to live the heavenly life. >> as much as possible. >> and, as we have also been told, to make it as little hellish as possible for everybody else.
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when i was a young believer, i had a problem with somebody in the community, and my elder told me -- i said, "i just can't love them. i just don't like them." and he said, "well, that's your problem. you don't have to like anybody. you just have to love everyone." that is probably the greatest advice i've ever had in my whole life. >> i asked sister frances about the friends of the shakers. might some of them become converts? >> while they are very good friends and are in with us in many ways spiritually, they are not about to give up their husband, their wife, or their homes and come and live in community. >> meanwhile, the shakers themselves do not want to change any rules to attract converts. >> they come, and they try the life, and usually it is on our decision that they don't remain. we don't want it to continue in
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any way that is diluted from what we have lived. in our morning prayers -- and each of us take a turn leading the prayer -- brother arnold says something about the thousands who are going to be coming here. >> well, that's my hope, and i don't see why not. god did it once before, and i don't know why god can't do it again. >> i asked brother arnold about the shaker legacy. >> i think that what shakerism has proved to the world is that it is possible to live the fullness of the christ-life here and now, to really start making that heaven on earth. ♪ when true simplicity is gained ♪ >> it has taken some very ordinary people and has allowed them to live extraordinary lives. ♪ till by turning turning we come round right ♪
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>> that's our program for now. i'm bob abernathy. there's much more on our website. including more of my interviews with the shakers. you can comment on all of our stories and share them. audio and video podcasts are also available. and you can find us on facebook and follow us on twitter. join us at pbs.org. as we leave you, more singing from the shaker meeting at sabbath day. ♪ -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com
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>> coming up on "theater talk"... >> you think anybody reads any of us? i mean... [ laughter ]